Benefits of Acupuncture during pregnancy – Part 1: First Trimester
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is concerned with the balance of yin and yang, Qi (energy flow) and blood during pregnancy. When you are pregnant your body changes radically. Your hormone levels change. The fatty tissue and muscle in your body changes as does the size and shape of your uterus. The direction of blood flow in your body alters and your heart is required to work harder. These changes are especially important for the first pregnancy, as this is a new experience for the mother’s body.
From early pregnancy, the yin and yang, Qi and blood need to gain a new balance. Certain parts of the body (organs and meridians) need to work harder such as the liver, spleen, stomach and kidney and the Ren Channel and Du Channel to ensure adequate circulation to the uterus. If your body has any difficulty rebalancing itself to these new demands in the first trimester we see some or more symptoms such as lack of energy, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, headaches, heartburn, frequent urination, dizziness, insomnia, spotting or vaginal bleeding, back ache and more.
Acupuncture is a safe and natural therapy that can help with many of the unwanted symptoms that come with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. During this precious time, acupuncture focuses on setting up a healthy foundation for your pregnancy to keep Qi and blood in harmony in the body to nourish and support the rapid growth of your baby, the womb and lining.
Fatigue or Anemia
Fatigue and anemia can make you feel exhausted during the early weeks of pregnancy. Large amounts of Qi and blood are needed to nourish the uterus and internal organs, making this an extremely demanding time for your body. Acupuncture can help by promoting the smooth flow of Qi and by enhancing the production of blood, boosting your energy levels and helping you to sleep well. If symptoms like morning sickness or headaches are causing or contributing to the fatigue then acupuncture treats the root cause of the problem to restore balance and increase energy.
Even though most mums-to-be are delighted with their new pregnancy, normal life events such as work, stress and tension can take their toll. Anxiety can be a common symptom at this time, especially with first time mums or mum’s who are anxious about getting to the 12th week mark. Acupuncture is wonderful for relaxation and restoration. It works on re-balancing the energy system of the body, having a positive knock on effect on stress and anxiety you may be feeling. Acupuncture nourishes and calms the ‘shen’ (‘spirit’ or ‘consciousness’ in Chinese Medicine) promoting good sleep and an overall feeling of well being.
Morning sickness during pregnancy is often dismissed as a minor side effect but it can be debilitating for many women. If you are experiencing nausea or vomiting with your pregnancy, acupuncture may be able to ease the discomfort effectively and rapidly.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine pregnancy nausea and vomiting may arise from a variety of causes. Acupuncture treatment aims to strengthen the energetic function of the digestive system and correct any underlying disharmonies in the organs and meridians of the body. During treatment it’s really important to stay hydrated and keep your blood sugar levels stable as this will help keep the nausea under control.
Pregnancy-induced headaches or migraines are a common complaint in the first trimester and can be caused by a variety of physiological and emotional changes related to pregnancy such as increased blood volume, hormonal changes and stress. Acupuncture can relieve your pain by working on clearing the imbalance on the organs and channels that are linked to the pain. A treatment will often target accompanying symptoms such as nausea or vomiting and include points for emotional support for feelings such as anxiety, irritability or depression.
Vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramps or lower backache may be a sign of threatened miscarriage in early pregnancy. If treated promptly acupuncture may be able to help. Treatment works to reduce the bleeding and support the pregnancy.
What to expect from your acupuncture visit during the first trimester of pregnancy
- After taking a detailed history of your health and pregnancy profile we will check your body with Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis methods including checking your tongue and pulse and physical palpation of the body if necessary (e.g. neck and shoulder pain, tension, bloating).
- We will discuss and advise a principle of acupuncture treatment for your specific symptoms to nourish your mind and body.
- You get to relax for at least 20 minutes while the acupuncture needles do their energy work on you.
- We will give you suggestions for individual cases on lifestyle, diet and exercise where relevant to your pregnancy and symptoms.
Pregnancy should be a happy and positive time for the new mum-to-be but unfortunately for some, unwanted symptoms can dramatically affect quality of life. If you are experiencing unwanted pregnancy symptoms or feel you need some TLC remember that acupuncture is an effective, safe and natural option to help you through the (unwelcome) bumps on this amazing journey.